For the better part of a year, the UFC’s featherweight division has been compared to a (rather dysfunctional) royal family. As champion Jose Aldo put it, he’s the King, Chad Mendes, twice defeated by Aldo, is the Prince, and Conor McGregor is the Jester. Albeit a Court Jester posed to take a crack at the King himself. In any case, if you choose to buy into this concept, that leaves Ricardo Lamas as some sort of Duke, or distant second cousin.

Lamas has won two fights since his February 2014 title challenge loss to Aldo, defeating Hacran Dias then ending the impressive streak of Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez. Yet neither of those fighters is on the level of Mendes, who is coming off an exciting but unsuccessful challenge of his own against the featherweight champion (The MMA Corner’s 2014 Fight of the Year).

In short, the “Prince” is a prince for a reason. And heading into UFC Fight Night 63, “Money” will be the favourite — but that’s not to say that Lamas doesn’t present a certain level of danger.

So what are the keys to victory for Chad Mendes?

Dominate With His Wrestling

Mendes is a NCAA Division 1 two-time All American, and one of the best wrestlers in the featherweight division in recent memory (Frankie Edgar, having dropped down, is another). He needs to utilize that. Wrestlers all too often fall in love with their striking, which can be their undoing. Mendes hasn’t quite shown signs of that just yet, but it’s always there, looming. At Fight Night 63, Mendes needs to keep the approach simple, even if it’s not exactly fan-friendly.

Be Wary Of Lamas’ Jiu-jitsu

Of course, that wrestling could put Mendes at risk of Lamas’ high level jiu-jitsu. Lamas holds a black belt, but lets face it: Mendes has lost exactly twice in his career, both times to Aldo, and has yet to be submitted. Still, he will need to be wary. Lamas has submitted both Cub Swanson and Dennis Bermudez.

Be the Aggressor

Both Mendes and Lamas are high level talents, both have earned title shots against Jose Aldo, and both will continue to be threats at 145lbs for some time to come, barring injury or a change of weight class. Mendes does have the edge, but Lamas also has what it takes to stave him off and overcome him. There’s a good chance this bout will go five rounds, and to that end, Mendes needs to be the aggressor in the main event of UFC Fight Night 63.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.